February -March Gardener

 TO USA AND CANADA GARDENERS WELCOME TO THE MANY MORE VIEWER VISITS  WERE HAVING  FROM ‘OVER THE POND ‘ FROM USA MAINLY CALIFORNIA AND WEST COAST TO NEW YORK AND EAST COAST 

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND  GARDENERS WELCOME WHERE I RECENTLY VISITED ALL GARDENERS COULD MAKE VALUABLE GARDENING COMMENTS ON CLIMATIC CHANGE EFFECTS ON  PLANTING . ITS VERY HOT SUMMER IN OCEANIA NOW FEB IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE .

WE WOULD ALSO LIKE MORE CONTACT FROM CANADA ,SO FAR A  FEW FROM QUEBEC SO MOST WELCOME. YES CANADA AND USA  IS PRETTY COLD AND SNOWY AT PRESENT IN  FEBRUARY BUT HOW AND  WHAT DO YOU PLANT BEST IN SPRING SUMMER AFTER THE SNOW HAS GONE !.

YES YOU ALL HAVE  DIFFERENT CLIMATES COMPARED TO US IN THE UK BUT I WAS REALLY SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT GARDENING IS THE SECOND  FAVORITE PAST TIME IN N AMERICA . IVE ADDED THIS COMMENT TO  MY TEC FACEBOOK SO FOLK CAN RESPOND IF THIS IS IN DEED THE CASE .DO LET US KNOW HOW YOU COPE WITH PLANTING WITH SEVERE SUMMER HEAT AND WINTER MINUS TEMPERATURES AND HEAVY SNOW .

  RESPONSES  VERY WELCOME USING OUR E MAIL CONTACT PAGE OR  TECH FACEBOOK SCIENCE FOR THE GARDENER   HOME PAGE LINK  ‘CLICK ON HERE ‘ SEE BELOW FOR THE LINK .

I lOOK FORWARD TO HEARING ANY COMMENTS  AND ANY PLANT PICS IN DIFFICULT CLIMATE  PLANTING CONDITIONS . I  MAY START A NEW PAGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE FOR GARDENING COMMENTS ! COULD BE USEFUL FOR US ALL PERHAPS .?

TONY ARNOLD   EDITOR AND AUTHOR THE BOOK SCIENCE FOR THE GARDENER

Superb NEW ZEALAND CHRISTMAS TREE Metersideros -pohutukawa (Myrtaceae)

 

FEB 2017 NEW ZEALAND HOT STUFF ROTARUA. EDITORS RECENT VISIT BIT TOO HOT FOR GARDENING BUT THERE ARE COOLER PLACES TO PLANT IN NZ.

UK DOES GET SNOW IN FEB BUT IT DOESNT LAST LONG COMPARED WITH NORTH AMERICA USA AND CANADA which has very heavy and longer snow fall.

 

MARCH  –SPRING GARDENER UK 

 

This season can be one of the most exciting of the year, allowing us at last to get back into the garden  I recommend looking at the small, easy to use books covering the seasons:  UK Clocks go forward end of March Sat 30th .

 

Get organised

Make a list of the many things you need to do and in what order!   Maintenance of tools and mowing equipment, shed and greenhouse clearance. Stock up on plant feeds, especially liquid ericaceous required NOW for budding Magnolias, Heathers, Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Pieris and Enkianthus which will soon be flowering raising a spring smile on our wintry faces. Later flowering plants will appreciate some slow release granules as the climate warms towards late Spring.  This will release valued NPK nutrients in to the soil boosting strength and flowering.

CHECK EQUIPMENT OVER WINTER

 

May I suggest a bit of time spent having a good look around with a pen and notebook as your garden may give you much needed input and ideas for the season ahead.  Possibly some new plants  or a raised bed, additional containers (excellent for a herb collection), hanging baskets or just boldly removing any old tired plants.  Choose some fresh exciting shrubs, perennials or annuals – plant hardy annual seeds now in small pots .   Look at some summer garden pictures in books and garden magazines  and decide where and what you want your plants to do for you!  Pen a rough diagram indicating  sunny, shady and difficult areas and enjoy looking for plants you fancy in terms of maintenance, length of flowering, foliage, fragrance, climbing, ground-cover. Its worth spending the time especially in early spring before the garden goes in to top gear !.

EDITOR SOIL TESTING DURING V HOT 34 UK SUMMER 2018 UK

Soil

Its easy to forget your all important soil out of site out of mind . A tidy up after winter is the obvious place to start. Soil requires considerable  TLC such as aerating for root respiration and movement making a huge impact on plant growth.  A light raking over is best, not digging.   Add plentiful  mulch in April to maintain moisture and important suppress weeds that can’t wait to annoy us. It works especially if we have another severely hot summer that causes hardening of the soil as it dries out. Mulching can be vital to protect the soil in these conditions ..Grass may be  burnt but will eventually recover with watering.

 

A mixture of topsoil and compost is best to obtain that ideal crumbly loam especially if sandy . If growing vegetables adding manure and lime is important except for the leguminous (pea family) that has built in nitrogen nodules in the roots.   Adding organic fertilisers, fish blood and bone, or pelleted chicken manure is important now as heavy winter and spring rains can leach out nutrients very easily.  Soil is used up every year and needs to be replenished gradually.  Seaweed will especially help boost plant hormone systems that can make a very great improvement to performance.

CARE WITH PRUNING .AVOID CUTTING FLOWER BUDS AND CUTTING IN TO OLD WOOD WHICH WONT REGENERATE !

 

Pruning

Shrubs will need some pruning, but take care cutting into old wood, it may not be necessary and it can cut off the vascular system and kill the plant eg Lavender .  Usually cutting lateral stems to two or three buds will suffice or last years flowering stems .  Vertical stems will depend mainly on how much height is required.

 

Woody clematis  if flowering before July can be lightly and carefully pruned to preferred size but late flowering clematis relies on new annual growth which being straggly now can be cut hard back to ground level.

Most vigorous climbers such as Lonicera –honeysuckle  can be cut back hard and will respond with vigorous growth!

 

Prune Rose bushes 2/3 inches below last year’s growth.  Shrub roses can just be trimmed of last year’s hips, and  large shrub roses can get congested  so to allow air circulation lightly cut back two or three older stems to the base and thin out surplus central stems. Climbing roses  will require more moderate pruning to suit the situation 

 

 

Wildlife will require additional feeding support.  Don’t forget ground feeding birds such as blackbirds, thrushes and robins they like bits of fruit as well.  Building nests will be a top priority so are we which can cause severe problems.  Thick conifers and hedges are also an ideal choice for birds.

Next month April we should be in full swing so let’s hope the weather comes on side.

 

Enjoy the start of the early Spring, you deserve that  garden break.

 

Tony Arnold MCIHort. Author Science for the Gardener

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